Chapter 152: Heart Devouring Flower
In previous Pill Production Tournaments, Ye Jiuge remembered that the first two rounds tested basic Medicinal Pills. Only the last round featured a test on Medicinal Pills at higher levels of difficulty.
Who could have known that there would be such a big surprise in the first round? No wonder, this time, the guaranteed placement had been canceled.
“Heavens! Why have they started with the Heart Nourishment Pill? I’ve never refined one before.”
Quite a few participants bemoaned the test topic.
The Heart Nourishment Pill’s recipe was obscure. It also required many herbs, and the refining technique required was quite complicated. Very few people could refine this pill.
“In Alchemy, besides experience, you need to have the ability to learn and apply. I will provide three sets of herbs and a pill recipe. If don’t you think you’re up for the task, then you can get lost now,” Dongfang Yao said impatiently.
In the past, the tests had been based on basic pills that Alchemists produced often. However, with each passing tournament, it was becoming harder to evaluate the participants’ standards. This had always left Dongfang Yao feeling very frustrated.
Recently, he had been researching a new pill recipe. He did not feel like hosting the Pill Production Tournament. So, he’d simply picked an obscure pill that most people would not produce thinking that this would disqualify a large majority of participants.
The Imperial Family’s Level-five Alchemist was most willful.
Although Ye Jiuge had never refined the Heart Nourishment Pill, she wasn’t daunted. While methods varied, the principles remained the same.
The Heart Nourishment Pill required around 49 different herbs. The herbs the Apprentice had delivered filled one big basket.
Ye Jiuge overturned the basket, poured the herbs out, and sorted them into small bamboo baskets.
As she checked the Heart Nourishing Flower, her pupils dilated.
The Heart Nourishing Flower was about the size of a thumb, with pink petals and a gray stamen. It was the main herb for producing the Heart Nourishment Pill.
Among the mass of Heart Nourishing Flowers were dozens of small flowers with black-spotted stamens. Mixed into the batch of flowers, they were hard to notice.
However, Ye Jiuge’s eyesight was unmatched. With just a glance, she could tell that these small flowers with the black stamen were not the Heart Nourishing Flower. Instead, they were the Heart Devouring Flower.
Although the Heart Devouring Flower was similar in appearance to the Heart Nourishing Flower, its effects were the opposite of the Heart Nourishing Flower.
If mistaken as the Heart Nourishing Flower during refining, the resulting pill became a potent poison. Once consumed, the least serious consequence was the loss of one’s Spiritual Power. A more serious outcome could result in a violent death.
Because the two herbs were grown in different environments, most people did not mistake one for the other.
Unless the person who had delivered the herbs had mixed them up intentionally.
Ye Jiuge lifted her eyes to look at the tall, thin Apprentice standing in front of her. He was the one who’d delivered the herbs just now.
The Apprentice was peeking at her out of the corner of his eye. When their eyes met, he immediately looked away out of guilt.
Besides the Crown Prince, she couldn’t think of anyone else who would be able to get an Apprentice to sabotage her allocation of herbs.
An Alchemist who wasn’t familiar with the Heart Nourishment Pill might fall for it. But this was a piece of cake to Ye Jiuge.
She did not intend to raise the issue because it was pointless.
The Heart Devouring Flower and Heart Nourishing Flower looked similar. So, if the Apprentice gave the excuse that he’d made a mistake, this would not be hard to accept.
Besides, sifting herbs had initially been a part of the tournament. There was nothing to dispute.
After Ye Jiuge picked out all the Heart Devouring Flowers, she went on to inspect the Pill Production Furnace. As expected, there were also problems with it.
There were a few small holes in the Pill Production Furnace, which would result in lower quality pills.
Ye Jiuge did not hesitate this time. She called for the Apprentice and requested to change the Pill Production Furnace.
Meanwhile, in the Judges’ Observatory at the top floor…
Besides the main judge, Dongfang Yao, two Level-four Alchemists were also present as assistant judges.
The short and fat one was called ‘Elder Chen.’
The tall and thin one was called ‘Elder Xiao.’ Both were elders of Medicine Refinery City.
Besides the three judges, Crown Prince Dongfang Jianming was also present as a representative of the Imperial Family.
He was standing respectfully beside Dongfang Yao, accompanying him as they observed the situation in each Pill Production Room.
Now that all the participants had started preparing the herbs, the commotion with Ye Jiuge immediately caught the attention of Dongfang Yao.
“What’s happening in room 36?” Dongfang Yao frowned.
“She said there was a problem with the furnace and requested a change.” Dongfang Yao’s Chief Apprentice, Li Zijun, swiftly got wind of the situation.
“I reminded all of you to scrutinize everything. How is there still a problem?” Dongfang Yao glanced over sharply.
The herbs and equipment used in the Pill Production Tournament were sent to the participants at the same time. He was very strict about this practice.
“This is your student’s oversight. Your student seeks punishment from his teacher!” Li Zijun bowed and pleaded guilty with haste.
“Imperial Uncle, Zijun cannot be blamed for this. Ye Jiuge in Room 36 is a famous troublemaker. Unless you give her the Spirit Nourishing Precious Cauldron, which costs 30,000 gold ingots, she will not be satisfied,” the Crown Prince commented to Dongfang Yao, adding his two cents.
“Who is Ye Jiuge?” Dongfang Yao was momentarily stunned.
“Great Master Yun’s maternal granddaughter,” Elder Chen offered from the side.
“Isn’t Great Master Yun’s maternal granddaughter a loser? How did she end up in the tournament?” Although Dongfang Yao had been based in Medicine Refinery City all these years, he’d still heard the rumors of Ye Jiuge’s inability.
“Imperial Uncle may not know this, but Ye Jiuge claimed to have had a favorable encounter. Not only did she regain her looks and cultivation, but she also reached the rank of Level-two Alchemist.” The Crown Prince laughed, and his insinuation suggested otherwise.
“Oh? Did such a thing happen? I wonder what kind of favorable encounter she experienced.” Elder Xiao sounded keen.
“Who knows? Ye Jiuge claimed to have regained her cultivation after receiving a pill left behind by Great Master Yun while she was in the Wanzhang Depths. I want to ask the Great Masters here, can any pill in this world allow a person whose meridians are broken to regain their cultivation and gain Alchemy knowledge?” the Crown Prince asked exaggeratedly.
“If there were such a pill, then this old man would like to get to know about it.” Elder Xiao rubbed his beard. It was evident he did not believe this story.
Elder Chen did not say anything, but his expression was one of disapproval.
However, Dongfang Yao disagreed with the Crown Prince and Elder Xiao: “The world is large, and filled with mysterious wonders. Old Man Yun has always been lucky. It isn’t hard to believe that he would leave behind precious pills for his bloodline.”
Although he had not been on good terms with Yun Tianwei when they were young, ever since Yun Tianwei’s disappearance, he had been feeling lonely with no rivals to pit against.
Hearing someone casting doubt on his rival made him feel like he was being doubted as well.
“Imperial Uncle is right. I have been ignorant and narrow-minded.” The Crown Prince never imagined that his Imperial Uncle would speak up for Ye Jiuge. He instantly swallowed the insulting words he was about to speak about Ye Jiuge.
Dongfang Yao scrutinized Ye Jiuge’s refining technique and nodded. “Her technique does not seem too bad. It looks like she’s not been lax in practicing.”
Meanwhile, Ye Jiuge did not know that she had already made a good impression on Dongfang Yao.
She concentrated on sorting out all the herbs and started refining.
This was why the Heart Nourishment Pill was so difficult to produce: there were too many herbs involved.
To ensure that all herbal essences fused completely, strict flame control was needed. The slightest mistake would result in failed pills. Flame control could only be achieved by an Alchemist who had refined and accumulated experience, bit by bit and repeatedly.
However, ever since Ye Jiuge had advanced in rank, her Cognitive ability had also expanded. The 49 herbs laying inside the Pill Production Furnace were plainly visible in her Cognitive.
At this time, most of the herbs had already dissolved. Only the Heart Nourishing Flower needed a bit more time to dissolve fully.
She increased the flame. When the Heart Nourishing Flower had completely dissolved, she lowered the heat and let the furance burn slowly.
While the cauldron was simmering, she did not rest. She used her Cognitive to swirl the herbal essence up and down so that the essence received balanced heat on all sides.
Then, just as the pill was almost ready, something went wrong.